Each time we are on the Paris ring road, we play a game.
I’ve played the game for almost 18 years now, many times: usually whilst travelling with Himself, on one occasion with a van load of New Zealand friends visiting, and now finally with my own children.
The game is called “spot le Tour Eiffel” and is basically involves scanning the expanse of the Paris skyline until one of us successfully spots the Eiffel Tour.
For some reason it’s appears to be harder to see it if you are travelling north to south on the ring road, and easier to see it if you are travelling south to north, often it can only be glimpsed for fleeting moments and the rolling contours of the city do not make it easy.
Paris is a vast city, the ring road takes you down into tunnels, dips and bumps, a sort of semi subterranean motorway that weaves in and out of the overpasses, coming up for air at bridges and where on-ramps and off-ramps are constantly appearing at odd moments.
Tens of thousands of cars changing lanes, and maneuvering around you are the norm, you need patience and wits to drive the Paris ring road.
Himself is concentrated on getting us through the maze, I’ve introduced the kids to the Game, and each desperately wants to be first to see le Tour Eiffel, this will be their first ever glimpse of it.
I spot it first and nonchalantly say ” Did I see something over there maybe?” and point at a specific spot, Kiwi Daughter is quickest to see it next closely followed by Little Mr, but they are quick to squabble about who was really the one to have seen it first.
I’ll admit that I cheated a bit, because first in the front passenger seat I have the best view, and secondly I have the DSLR in my hands and have been periodically using it’s superior telephoto to look further into the distance than is fair to the other players.
Kiwi Daughter has a tiny camera with half the zoom capability and Little Mr has nothing but his eyes and is at a further disadvantage because he’s far shorter and his eye level is probably closer to the edge of the traffic barriers than to many objects higher up.
He does however manage to spot traffic police motorbikes remarkably quickly indeed.
Little boys appear to have radar for these things.
As an added bonus not only do we score le Tour Eiffel this time, but also far into the distance but crystal clear, De Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.
We also spot some interesting art installations on the ring road and, as we near the northern end of the city, the River Seine.
Tonight we have luck, we manage to move far more than we stand still, and like a tiny red blood cell being drawn into beating heart, we are sucked up into the artery and discharged into the northern outskirts a while later. Time to hunt for a bed.